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- Highs Defines sophistication, properly refined and responsive, versatile hatchback.
- Lows Turbocharged engine needs charisma, distracting touchscreens, pricier than the A6.
- Verdict A non-traditional luxury vehicle that delivers traditional Audi excellence.
The A7 ranks among the most sophisticated hatchbacks on the planet, with its unrivaled refinement and cutting-edge technology. Based on the A6 sedan, this fastback version costs more but also hauls more, thanks to increased cargo space. Both sedans made our Editors' Choice list because of their brilliant combination of heady performance and suave road manners. With a responsive turbocharged powertrain and an adroit chassis, the A7 is a wonderful driving partner whether the road ahead is straight and smooth or tight and twisty. Its tranquil cabin provides marvelous environs and the latest infotainment experience. Every A7 prioritizes safety with automated emergency braking, but even more advanced driver assists, such as night vision, are available for added protection.
What's New for 2019?
The A7 is all-new, with a more angular exterior design and a more high-tech cabin. It continues to incorporate its signature sloping roofline and functional liftback. The interior also preserves the company's luxury designation with excellent quality and myriad features. A pair of touchscreens create the centerpiece, while enhanced driver assists bolster its tech-savvy content. The Audi adds a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and its turbocharged V-6 powertrain now pairs with a 48-volt hybrid-assist system.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The main question that prospective A7 buyers will face is whether the sedan's sloping roofline and added cargo space are worth the extra coin compared with the more traditional A6 and its sedan design. Even the A6's top-of-the-line Prestige model undercuts the base A7 by $900. Once that decision is settled, we'd recommend the mid-level A7 Premium Plus that adds standard features otherwise unavailable on the lesser Premium trim. These include a slick-looking digital gauge cluster (called Virtual Cockpit), LED head- and taillights with fancy animations, and a 360-degree camera system. We'd also choose the Individual Contour seating package that adds memory settings, ventilation, massage, and leather on the armrests and center console. This option also requires the Warm Weather package, with four-zone climate control and rear sunshades.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Wonderfully athletic, responsive acceleration, larger wheels don't ruin ride.
Dislikes: Engine lacks aural excitement, indecipherable drive modes.
The A7 is offered with only one engine and transmission, but the inevitable high-performance S7 and higher-performance RS7 versions will bring more firepower. A plug-in hybrid version is planned for the 2020 A7. The model's current turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 makes 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. That power is delivered to Audi's iconic Quattro all-wheel drive through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The A7 also uses a 48-volt hybrid-assist system that minimizes turbo lag and aids stop/start operation. We've track-tested two A7 models wearing different tires, with the quickest version reaching 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and accelerating from 50 to 70 mph in 3.6 seconds. During everyday driving, we appreciated the Audi's effortless quickness. Its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system provided excellent traction in wet and dry conditions. The automatic transmission intelligently reacted to both relaxed and energetic throttle inputs. However, we wish the exhaust sounded more authoritative at times and that the selectable drive modes—Dynamic in particular—had greater performance variation.
Audi expertly blends luxury and agility on the A7. Its enthusiastic responses and ethereal ride quality immediately stood out while we were behind the wheel. Despite our test car's optional 21-inch wheels, the expected thuds from harsh impacts went virtually unnoticed. Its dexterous suspension was equally successful at limiting body motions and maximizing smoothness. The steering response was linear, with adjustable heft available in different drive modes, but it never communicated what the front wheels were doing. The two A7 models we tested had impressive stopping power, with emergency braking distances of 157 feet and 163 feet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the A7 Quattro will get 22 mpg city and 29 highway, which closely aligns with rivals such as the BMW 540i xDrive (21 mpg city and 29 highway) and the Mercedes CLS450 4Matic (23 city and 30 highway). The Audi we tested greatly exceeded its highway rating, earning an impressive 36 mpg on our 200-mile fuel-economy route. The CLS also returned 36 mpg during our highway test, but the Bimmer only achieved 31 mpg.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Truly stunning interior, legitimate luxuries are standard, more cargo-friendly than rivals.
Dislikes: Base model misses best options, touchscreens cause distractions, chintzy paddle shifters.
Audi has long been the measuring stick for classy and well-built interiors, and the luxury automaker has outdone itself on the A7. Its impeccable fit and finish is highlighted by attractive materials and sturdy switchgear. Every cabin has ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, leather surfaces, a panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control, and more. A heated steering wheel and heated rear seats are available on the base model, but only the more expensive trim levels offer upgraded front seats with ventilation and massage functions. However, they're controlled solely through the touchscreens, which is annoying. The A7 also provides a satisfying driving position that is complemented by excellent outward visibility. A head-up display and Audi's Virtual Cockpit are options. Rear-seat passengers receive climate controls, power points for charging devices, and even heated seats, which are all optional. While the back seat comfortably accommodates two adults, three full-size frames would be cramped.
Every A7 features a dazzling infotainment system with dual touchscreens that seamlessly integrate into the dashboard and center console. The upper display measures up to 10.1 inches and includes menus for audio, navigation, personalized settings, and more. The lower screen is 8.6 inches and primarily handles climate-control functions. The large icons are easy to locate, and the haptic feedback is satisfying, but the setup is undeniably distracting because they often require the driver to take their eyes off the road. Standard content includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, a 4G LTE mobile hotspot, and a subscription to Audi's remote services. These allow owners to control certain functions and monitor vehicle diagnostics via a smartphone application. Desirable options are two powerful Bang & Olufsen premium sound systems and wireless charging.
Underneath the A7's useful power-operated liftback, we fit seven carry-on bags behind its split-folding rear seat. The car also held 20 bags of luggage with the seats folded flat. Likewise, we managed to fit a golf bag and stroller in the cargo area. Unfortunately, the A7 has mediocre interior cubby space. The front door pockets are narrow, and the center console has a small bin.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The A7 hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, the fastback sedan offers advanced driver-assistance equipment that includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology and night vision. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi provides warranty coverage that aligns with plans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. While every A7 includes one complimentary scheduled-service visit, owners can extend that coverage by paying extra for Audi Care, which covers four subsequent services after the first complimentary visit.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance covers one visit over first year or 10,000 miles